When the Garcia family got the news that their new baby boy was deaf and mute, they were devastated. "I was born with no ears at all," says Ramiro Garcia. "It was a bittersweet moment for my parents. They had the joy of having a baby, but the sadness of having a child that couldn't hear or speak."
Twenty-eight years later, Ramiro's story and his amazing singing voice have been launched into fame thanks to his audition on this season's "American Idol." But his road to the largest singing competition in the country was nothing but tortuous.
He knew he was different growing up. "People could see that I had no ears and made fun of me. I didn't want to go to school. I cried myself to sleep, but my parents loved me," Ramiro reminisces. His grandmother encouraged his parents and constantly prayed for him. "God has a plan for his life," she would always say. At age 4, doctors discovered that Ramiro had an eardrum that functioned and began the process of trying to correct his condition through surgery and speech therapy.
But where did the singing come from?His parents, who immigrated to the U.S. from their native Monterrey, Mexico, are "very musical," according to Ramiro. His dad had a band that played Beatles music, his mom enjoys singing, and both his brothers sing and play the guitar. He discovered what music really meant to him when he was invited to sing a song during the Spanish services at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. That day Ramiro knew that he wanted to sing, that he wanted to inspire.
Still, where do you get the courage to show up at an "American Idol" audition, especially when you've had to overcome so much? "My family was very encouraging," says Ramiro. "My parents didn't treat me differently. I did chores around the house. I played Little League baseball. They did not feel sorry for me. [Sometimes] I would forget I was different! My family gave me the boldness to pursue my dreams." His Mexican background was also a great motivation: "It gives me a sense of pride," affirms Ramiro. And even though he was born in Houston, he says, "I feel like I'm Mexican. You don't do things just to please yourself. You do it for your people. I did [the "American Idol" audition] for mi gente." "I want to inspire others to pursue their dreams regardless of circumstances," Ramiro continues. [You need to] fight through it and overcome it. I wanted to share my story. Life is more than nine-to-five. You gotta live life and take risks."
Currently Ramiro works at Lakewood Church with the youth and young adults as part of their creative team, and wants to continue making music and helping others. "I want to be involved in projects that inspire people, [projects] that make people dance and sing."
That's music to our ears!